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The coins of Tuvalu depict a selection of fascinating
marine life indicative of its Pacific location.
This collection of coins has kindly been made available by Mr. Francis Clifton who served in Tuvalu
(and other Pacific Islands)
during World War 2.
This coin set was obtained from

Tuvalu has been an independent state within the British Commonwealth since October 1, 1978. Located in the Pacific Ocean near the point where the Equator crosses the International Date Line, Tuvalu was formerly the Ellice Islands and was associated with the Gilbert Islands (Kiribati) until October 1, 1975. There are nine atolls in all, although the Polynesian name means "eight standing." The ninth atoll, Niulakita, was not discovered until many years after the islands were originally settled.

Map of Tuvalu.

Tuvalu is presently inhabited by about 10,000 people, who are predominantly descendants of the Polynesians who overcame the Micronesians in the 16th century. The total land area is about ten square miles spread over an ocean area of 421 by 91 miles. Except for occasional sightings, the islands were virtually unknown to Europeans until the 19th century. In 1819 Captain de Peyster visited Funafuti and Nukufetau, naming them the Ellice Islands after the head of the trading firm of Phyn, Ellice & Inglis, owners of his ships.
In succeeding years the population was reduced by raiding parties who sold their captives into forced labor. A British protectorate was established in 1892, and on November 10, 1915 the Ellice and Gilbert groups were annexed at the request of local rulers. About 1,500 Tuvaluans are employed overseas or as seamen, since the islands lack sufficient topsoil to support a large population. Coconuts, fish and taro comprise the major commodities. Consequently, imports of food, consumer goods and building materials far exceed the value of exports.

The coins of Tuvalu depict a selection of fascinating marine
life indicative of its Pacific location:

1-cent, lambis shell;
2-cents, stingray;
5-cents, tiger shark;
l0-cents, red-eyed crab;
20-cents, flying fish;
50-cents, octopus;
I-dollar, sea turtle.
Appropriate to Tuvalu's status as a Commonwealth nation,
each of the coins bears a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse.

Tuvalu Home Page

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 By Jane Resture ( -- Rev. 5th June 2002)